|Beyond the Outer Rim
Author: Graceful5301 PM
Where's Revan gone? and what happens when OC Grace helps Exile and Atton to find her. A bit of adventure and romance. Story abandoned.Rated: Fiction T - English - Sci-Fi/Adventure - Chapters: 5 - Words: 20,913 - Reviews: 4 - Favs: 2 - Follows: 1 - Published: 03-28-06 - Status: Complete - id: 2865717
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
"Okay, for once I was wrong. This has got to be the biggest mistake ever. We've been travelling for two months straight and no gravity wells to stop our course," fumed Allan Berrun, Exile, as he stood in the cockpit of the Hawk. "I'm starting to think -"
"That you're crazy? I said that at Yavin you remember," interrupted Atton pointing a finger at the Jedi from the comfort of his seat. "Now if we had my way we would have spent a little time on Nar Shaddaa with a few honeys to give us some good memories. Instead, no - we have to leave straight away. You know I don't work so well if my entertainment is lacking. No juma, no decent pazaak opponent -" he mock-glared at Allan "- and no women… Especially, no women."
"Atton, don't you think of anything else?"
Atton slouched further into the pilots' chair. "Not if I can help it," he muttered and began a pazaak game in his head. Player draws 10, draws a5 equals 15, adds a +5 equals 20, player...
A light started flashing on the console in front of him. Then the proximity alarm sounded as the ship felt the pull of a gravity-well and fell out of hyperspace. Atton grabbed for the controls as the Hawk headed for the Space Station dominating the view.
"It seems we have arrived," remarked Allan with a sigh of relief as he looked through the windscreen.
"Well, thank the Force," exclaimed Atton. "I was starting to get real bored with the same old routine."
Slowly orbiting a dying star in the middle of nowhere, the Station looked to have seen better days. It was similar to an old design rarely seen in the Republic now - a central rod housing stabilisers and a deepspace communication/survailance array, surrounded by two adjoining rings holding everything else including internal and external docking ports, and lit up like a wroshyr tree at Festival Time. At one of the external ports sat an olive and grey, streamlined but worn Heavy Freighter. Painted down the side of the ship in light blue were curling characters in some alien script Allan had not seen before.
"So, where are we anyway? What's the readout say this place is?" asked the scoundrel.
Allan sat down in the co-pilot seat and looked down at the computer screen. "Its ID beacon names it Gate-Way. Looks innocuous enough but I think I will not look the part of a Jedi, just in case." Allan touched his robes and lightsaber, then got up to leave. "Hail them and take us in."
Lets see what we've got then…- Jorda thinks he's so smart cornering the market…- Humph! Merchants…- got me an itch I need to scratch…- Eew. Crass…- make repairs to the sublight…- Nothing. I might be able…- draws a 1 equals 4, draws a 7 equals 11, draws…- What? That's not normal. Where?…- hate Pazaak. How can he expect me to do this? Wonder if there's any record of her being here?…- Who?
A chill crawled up Grace's spine as her head swiveled to focus on the two minds not broadcasting the usual mindchatter. Her walk never faltered as doubt and fear tugged at her mind at the possiblity she had been found. Walking a few paces ahead to her right she located two humans moving towards the Promenade. The taller of the two barely hesitated as they stepped into the main thoroughfare and his focus lit on the Cantina sign further down the way. He turned and smiled in satisfaction, gesturing for the other to follow as he walked on. The other halted to look around and Grace moved past to find a place to scrutinise the men without being obvious.
Maybe it's just coincidence… Yeah, Grace, you know there are no such things as coincidences when it comes to the Force…Who are they then if they're not here for me?
Grace moved to the other side of the thoroughfare and slipped into a handy shadow beside a strut arching over the ceiling and focused on fading from peoples sight - Nothing to see here…move along… - then looked over at the neon-outlined entrance to the Cantina. The taller man held her attention first. He of the pazaak game. Dark haired and a little older than the other, he wore a ribbed jacket that set off his shoulders well. Her eyes followed it down. Nice ass, she thought with a little guilty appreciation before looking over the rest of him. He wore both blaster and vibroblade with the ease of regular use. And he moved with an unfeigned assurance, as if he had no care in the galaxy but the galaxy ought to take a care around him. Grace sucked in a quiet breath. Dangerous. Know that type of swagger, she thought. The man reminded Grace of some old aquantences of hers, yet he was also obviously and openly friendly with the other man, while her old company always seemed more guarded. The shorter by a couple of inches had sandy hair. Nothing to give a second glance if it weren't for the way he moved - smooth, even, balanced. Like a Jedi, Grace realised. She looked at the mans overalls and belt where a vibroblade and blaster sat. No lightsaber? Incognito? Jedi don't hide, she thought clearly to herself. The target of her thoughts stopped again to look around, a thoughtful expression on his face. Grace began thinking random thoughts and focused on fading further into the scenery. She returned to a quieter scrutiny as the man turned to speak to the tall one engrossed in an outside view of the Cantina entertainment.
"Hm? You sure?" Atton dragged his attention from the Cantina and flicked a nonchalant look around.
"I can't pin it down but there was definitely someone focused on us for more than a few seconds."
"Well, can't be helped and if its all the same to you I'd rather be inside having a drink." Atton focused back on the entrance as he hooked a thumb on his belt. "Let's give whoever it is a chance to show themselves." And suiting action to word he stepped inside.
Allan sighed and followed his wayward companion. Inside, his ears were assaulted by a loud conversation in the foreground and music from his right. He stopped a few feet in to look around in the garish yellow lighting. Worn seating covered the main floor and a group of mercenaries covered the seats nearby, their loud talk bordering on belligerence. Boredom, anger and frustration flowed off the group in equal quantity to the empty glasses scattered around them. To Allan's right was the ever-present stage where a couple of holographic twi'lek dancers moved to the beat of a holographic band. To his left was the bar where Atton was already tossing down his first drink and had another two waiting. Allan moved towards the bar giving the mercenaries a wide berth.
"I think we should keep a low profile Atton," he spoke to his friend as he joined him "That group in the middle is in one ugly mood. I can feel a fight coming."
"Sounds like home. Listen, I saw a Pazaak den off the back there," Atton pointed at the rear of the room "I'm thinking we could do with a little local currency, if you catch my drift."
Allan raised an eyebrow as he took in Atton's sugestion. "And our 'admirer'?" he asked.
Atton clapped him on the shoulder and pushed a drink into his hand. "That I leave to you. I'm not the Jedi here, remember. Shouldn't be more than a couple of hours before whoever it was decides to look in and see what we're doing." He straightened up from his lean on the bar. From the middle of the room came the sounds of glass breaking and chairs being shoved aside, voices raised in anger. "Well that was quick. Didn't think it would break out so soon."
"You knew?" Allan asked as he ducked a flying glass.
"Hey, I was more interested in a drink than them. I thought they had a ways to go. Guess I was wrong," Atton remarked as he grabbed his drink and moved further down the bar.
"I think we should -" Allan began as a large and burly man was shoved into him. He shoved back in sudden irritation, old habits from his exile over-riding his Jedi training for a few seconds before he could stop himself.
"Wha' th'?" the man slurred as he turned. A ham-sized fist connected with Allan's face as he droped his guard. He fell to the floor and looked up in time to see Atton step in and block the next punch, followed quickly by a fist in the mans face and a foot in the groin. Allan winced in sympathy, the irritation forgotten.
"Come on Exile. Can't have you lying down in a fight." Atton grabbed Allan and hauled him upright.
Someone came to rescue the burly guy and swung at Attons face. "Too late," Allan remarked as Atton fell on his backside from the blow.
"This is not my usual kind of fun! Can't you just -?" Atton spat blood as he moved to kick his attackers kneecap. There was a loud crack and Atton rolled up to finish off the would-be rescuer.
"Low profile! Remember?"
"Oh, Ha ha. Very funny. Now lets move before the security shows."
"Did I mention too late?" inquired Allan as he pointed at the main door. Uniformed security guards poured into the room and wadded into the fight. One guard stood near the door looking around eagerly, searching for an easy target. Allan watched the guards in action. A bit excessive, he thought. REalisation dawned as he saw the pain the near future held for him and Atton even if they stayed out of the fight. The guards weren't being selective is their enthusiasm to quell the brawlers and were lashing out at everyone. Allan looked at Atton then pointedly at the guard by the door as the man focused on them.
Atton sighed and took up a guard position. "I'm going to see the inside of a force-cage again aren't I?"
"Yes. I am afraid so."
Stupid! Stupid! Her mind warned. You should have just gone back to the ship and Forced a berth off this place. No need to get interested in some crazed Jedi Master with a deathwish… and a cute bodyguard… She groaned quietly at the intrusion of her last thought and then considered her options. The Jedi did not seem to have anything to do with her specifically but, knowing what the Force was prone to do, if she stayed much longer he probably would. She pushed away from the wall and shoved all thought of the last half-hour aside. Grace strode back to the Docks and the ship docking-port she had recently come from. When she arrived, the docking-port looked suspiciously locked and empty. She spun around and walked back to the Dockmaster, a grey-haired human in brightly marked overalls, whos name badge identified him as Llewn.
"Your indulgence Master of Shipping, when did the Vall'an'ie leave dock?" she inquired, giving a small bow.
"What did you say? Hold on," grunted the Dockmaster. "Oi! Droid! Come here!" he shouted with more clarity. He eyed Grace as the droid approached, taking in the weapons, clothes and fullface visor she wore as a disguise.
"How may I be of service Dockmaster Llewn," warbled the C2 unit.
"Translate for this Ran'ie will you."
"Of course Dockmaster." The droid turned to Grace and bowed "Felicitous Greetings Ran, This unit is C2B4. How may this humble servant show service?"
Grace sighed silently at the though of having to construct a decent Ran'ie sentence. Should have gone with another cover species… "Please convey my most sincere apologies for disturbing the Master of Shipping and enquire for this unworthy individual when the Vall'an'ie left his superior care." Grace bowed again.
"This one asks your indulgence Dockmaster Llewn and is enquiring as to the time the Vall'an'ie left the station," repeated C2B4.
"Ah, I'm sorry Ran'ie. Ship left us not ten minutes ago." Llewn shook his head in apparent sympathy. "If it's passage you're after then I'm sure another Ran'a ship will dock in the next few days." He glanced at the droid who turned to Grace to translate.
"This one thanks the Master of Shipping for his kindness," Grace interrupted smoothly. "One also begs you extend my deepest regrets at the news of the departure, yet greatest joy of hearing unsolicited the news of other ships of our line that will be held under the Master of Shippings most gracious care in the near future." She bowed deeper and held the bow. She heard the droid repeat her thanks and, glancing up as far as her visor would allow without showing she was looking, watched the Dockmaster pull a sour face and bow. Before the droid could give a farewell speech she stepped back and moved away. Grace gave silent thanks that she had had the foresight to chose a Ran'ie caste that could get away with being moderately abrupt.
She returned to the Promenade to consider what to do next as she traveled its length, glancing here and there into the shops, businesses and booths lining the walls. I could always dump the disguise, she thought. But then I'd be noticeable. I mean, how many people with white-blonde hair, dusky skin and deep violet eyes are there… Grace sighed again behind the mask. Best to stay as I am, get some credits and haul off this place as soon as possible. Now that's sorted - how to get some credits? Mug someone?… She pulled a face and found she had walked a circuit of the ring and was in front of the now quiet Cantina. Pazaak. I'm good at pazaak. Shouldn't take long…
Stepping into the Cantina her first sight was the broken furniture and glass on the floor being swept up by a morose looking woman in a slaves collar. She looked further around and saw the entrance to the Pazaak den. Moving over to the long bar she caught the bartenders attention.
"Gracious greetings Keeper of the Distillery. Might this lowly one enquire as to the disturbance one saw but a short time ago?" Grace enquired.
"Bunch of mercs decided to flout the laws here. I got the Security in as soon as possible. Had a bit of trouble with a couple of others they were fighting though. Took Security longer than usual to subdue them. There will be no other disturbances like that one I can assure you." The bartender took in the Ran'ie clothes and hooded visor. "I have to say I do not see Ran'ie in here often. You do not drink, so…?"
"This one is a lowly Pazaak player and finds enjoyment in the thrill of the contest."
"Ah! Well. The den is through the back. Please enjoy your stay here." The barkeeper nodded a bow.
Grace returned the bow and moved towards the den as the bartender began barking at the slave to move faster.
"If you were to think a little louder one might wonder if you were trying to say something without being obvious about it," said Allan from the cage opposite.
"I wasn't, and stay out of my head," Atton groused and began playing pazaak in his head.
"I could not help it Atton. I can feel your pain," Allan replied. "Since there is currently only us two here let me help." He drew on the Force and flexed his fingers as Atton felt the pain recede, his shoulder relax, and his ribs heal.
Atton probed the now firmly attached teeth with his tongue. "Thanks."
"You're welcome. I am sorry about all this," Allan waved his hand to indicate the grey walls of thier cells and the force-wall in front of each cell. "The beating, the cell. I did not think we would end up like this when we landed. Though I do feel there is something or someone here to see that will help us on our journey," Allan mused as he scratched absently at his jaw.
Atton huffed and dragged his hands through his hair. "Remind me again why I said yes to coming with you," he asked.
"I said I didn't know how to fly and you said -" Allan stopped as he looked at the doors.
The cell-room doors opened to reveal a man built like a short brick refresher - Security Captain Savar. "Gentlemen. I see you are the last here. I am surprised you have yet placed bail. From this I surmise you don't have adequate credits to your name," he said with amusement in his voice. "Not to worry. We have a fine tradition of working for our keep -" Atton scowled "- and I am sure the Cantina owner will be most willing to have some more helpers to pay for the damages. In the meantime I suggest you make good use of the time in our custody and think of ways you can shorten your sentences. Good-day." Savar turned and walked out.
"And I so wanted to work in a Cantina for a long time without pay," Atton drawled sarcastically.
"I think we should get some rest Atton. Who knows how much longer we will have to be here." remarked Allan as he settled into a meditative pose and closed his eyes.
As he leaned back against the wall Atton watched Allan through half-closed eyes. Player draws a 2, draws a 6 equals 8, draws a 5... He began playing pazaak with himself to while away the time.